Otters at the Great Lakes Aquarium are taking the art world by storm
POSTED: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 5:30am
UPDATED: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 5:34am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — For the last 12 years, Zhoosh and Anang have made quite the splash at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, Minnesota, but now their fame is really growing.
The two otters are avid swimmers and rock climbers, but behind the scenes they transform from top predators to abstract artists.
Last year Tara Lieberg, their caretaker, started laying down paper and paint in their feeding cages. She wanted to introduce the two to different textured surfaces. What happened next no one expected.
Zhoosh and Anang started painting with their paws, their tails and sometimes their entire bodies.
"You can see how she gets a little bit lower with her body so that's what leaves these fur prints," Lieberg said.
Anang likes to swirl and twirl. Zhoosh is a little more careful.
"He'll hesitate and think about it and sometimes when he doesn't want to go in the paint he doesn't have to," Lieberg said.
The otters paint at least three times a week for five minutes. Their paintings have been flying off the gift store shelf. They've become very popular with many orders coming in, some as far as the UK.
"We get adults writing in 'I need one for my boyfriend, my girlfriend, my partner,'" Sarah Erickson, education director at the aquarium, said.
Their work sells from $2 for a bookmark up to $100 for framed pieces.
All proceeds go toward educational programs and animal care.
The Great Lakes Aquarium is selling the paintings online.